by Stef Jantz, Food Columnist
It’s one of the most popular of the tropical fruits they say and grown in every tropical country of the world. However, 80% of them end up canned.
Pineapples are native to South America and imported to Europe. It’s believed that Christopher Columbus and his crew were some of the first people from the European Continent to have tried the sweet fruit. Since pineapples were not savvy to the colder climates, they were imported and harvested in hot houses.
European royals took a big liking to the fruit, so it was more known to be available to the rich, noble, and elite. The pineapple was so prestigious that people would rent them to use as centerpieces for their table during holidays or special celebrations.
Pineapples originated in the regions around Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. It was a staple crop to the countries and not only was it for food, but pineapples were also used as a medicine, fermented to become alcohol, and its fibers were made into bows and strings and threads for cloth.
But did you know that the most common of pollinators for the fruit are hummingbirds? Yeah! I was kind of surprised reading that too. Like how bats are main pollinators of the agave plant (tequila) and also of wild pineapples.
Be aware though, unripe pineapples can be poisonous so when you go to pick one, make sure the bottom smells sweet.
This amazing tropical fruit is packed with nutrition. They protect against inflammation, disease, improve digestion, immunity, and even link to improve surgery recovery. It’s loaded with rich nutrients such as vitamin c and manganese mostly and many other trace amounts of important vitamins. They’re full of antioxidants that may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
An awesome study conducted with children proved that children who ate some pineapple showed significantly lower risk of both viral and bacterial infections. Children who ate more pineapple had almost four times more disease fighting white blood cells than those that ate less to none.
The bromelain in pineapple has been a big trademark in aiding immune health. Plus, it’s also a great post workout treat considering it helps speed up the recovery of muscle strain.
Now, on to the best part. It’s an amazing addition to so many food dishes. I admit, I am one of those lovers of pineapple on pizza. It adds that sweetness to a savory dish that fires up the taste buds and puts them in a new world.
I hear from many people that it’s a texture thing and I totally get that but if you’re one that’s not a texture person, try it at least once if you haven’t.
Think of pineapple salsa, pineapple chicken, or pineapple on a burger. If you’re still against it, try a splash of pineapple juice in a ham, pork, or chicken dish and of course it’s amazing with rice too.
Really though, what are we mainly craving when we hear the word pineapple?
Dessert!! You can never go wrong with a good ole fashioned pineapple upside down cake. So good!
Some other awesome desserts are pie, cookies, cheesecake, shortcake, hummingbird cake (love it), biscotti, trifles, fluff salad, bread pudding, and of course cocktails.
One thing I hear all the rave about is that famous Dole Whip. Personally, I’ve never had it but I’m going to make it along with y’all and leave you the recipe.
It’s the perfect treat on these sweltering, hot summer days and something the whole family will enjoy.
*4 ounces pineapple juice
*1 big scoop vanilla ice cream (about 3/4 cup)
*2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
*2 tablespoons sugar, optional but recommended
*splash of lemon juice
*pinch of salt
-Combine all the ingredients in a blender (in the order listed); blend until smooth and ultra creamy, pushing down the pineapple chunks if necessary, for about 3 minutes.
-At this point you can pour into dessert cups. But I like to freeze the mixture for 30-40 minutes then scoop into bowls or serving dishes.